Living with natural disasters – how to change Indonesia’s culture of passive resignation

Preventing disaster from striking Australia’s economy

The $3.9 billion emergency response fund announced in the Morrison government’s pre-election budget will resonate with the tens of thousands of Australians who, over recent months, have suffered terribly from record-setting droughts, floods and bushfires.

Under the new arrangements, the government would make available up to $150 million a year from the fund between 2019–20 to 2023–24 (as a top-up to existing support) following a significant and catastrophic natural disaster.

But providing support to communities after a disaster has struck is far less effective than decreasing their exposure and vulnerability to the natural hazards from the outset. The strong business case for investing in disaster risk reduction has been underlined for some time by groups as diverse as the Australian Productivity Commission and the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities.

The US National Institute of Building Sciences, for example, found that every dollar invested in mitigation can save six dollars in future disaster costs…


Students came together in Norfolk to test their ‘resilience strategies.’ Here’s what that’s all about

Educators from the Elizabeth River Project spent the last year working with students from a dozen area schools to discover what they call ‘hope through action.’ The students planned and carried out projects to help their schools and communities become more resilient to rising seas and other changing climate conditions, officials said in a news release.  About 100 student delegates from the schools showcased their results April 6, at the Elizabeth River Project’s first “Youth Resilience Expo” at Nauticus.

One group of students tested multiple types of solar cookers to bake nachos and pizza. The students now estimate that if everyone at Waters Middle School, their Portsmouth school, used their preferred solar cooker only once a year, that would save as much energy as turning off 720 light bulbs for an hour, officials said. “They also really like that it gives people a chance to cook and boil water in a natural disaster,” said Marlee Fuller-Morris of the Elizabeth River Project. Keynote speaker Tom Clynes, a contributing photojournalist to National Geographic, spoke to the students about continuing resiliency efforts with his talk, “The Art of Audacity,” featuring his documentaries of unlikely environmental heroes around the globe…


Living with natural disasters – how to change Indonesia’s culture of passive resignation

Mount Merapi in Central Java, one of the most active of more than 100 Indonesian volcanoes, is among the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth. Credit: Boy Triharjanto/EPA

Situated in the “Ring of Fire”, one of the most geologically active regions in the world, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters, as the past year has grimly confirmed.  Seemingly endless earthquakes throughout Bali and Lombok through July and August killed over 600 people. Not long after, another earthquake struck the coast of Central Sulawesi, followed by a localised tsunami that washed over the town of Palu. More than 2,100 people died. And just a few days before Christmas, a tsunami struck the coasts of Java and Sumatra. Triggered by parts of Anak Krakatau volcano collapsing into the sea following an eruption, it killed at least 420 people…

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